Research into the social formation and history of the Tibetan society holds an important position in Tibetan studies.
In the early days when contemporary Tibetan studies began, there were people who went to the plateau, pastoral areas, manors, monasteries and towns. There, they gathered firsthand materials related to tribal history and economic situation. On this basis, they compiled and published a 10-part book titled Investigation Reports on the History and Society of the Tibetan Race in the 1980s. In 1987, a project was undertaken to research into the feudal serfdom in Tibet with aid from the State Social Sciences Fund. A group of 19 researchers from Beijing and Tibet went to the farming and pastoral areas for further investigation. In eight years, they completed the Social Formation of Feudal Serfdom in Tibet, which was published in 1996. This book represents the most important results gained through Tibetan studies, and symbolized that Tibetan studies on the social formation in Tibet had reached a new height.
A number of works on Tibetan history have also been published. They include the General History of Tibet by Chabai Cedain puncog, a very famous Tibetan scholar; the Concise history of Tibet by a compilation group composed of Liu Shengqi, Wang Furen, Wang Xiaoyi and Chang Fengxuan with the Ethnic Nationalities Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; and On the Temporal and Religious administration in Tibet by Donggar Lobsang Chilai. With rich historical materials in Tibetan, the Concise History of Tibet tells of the history from the Tubo period to the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951. It covers politics, economics, religion, foreign relation, military affairs, science and technology, medicine, astronomy and calendaring as well as major historical events and noted personages. The White Annals by Gendun Qunpei, a famous Tibetologis, is the first to break the yoke of religious theology to take the research into the Tibetan history into the humanities. The general History of Tibet by Chabai Cedain Puncog tells of the Tibetan history from the historical materialist point of view. The Concise History of Tibet tells of changes that took place in the 1,300 year period from the 7th century when the Tubo Kingdom was founded to the peaceful liberation of Tibet. On the Temporal and Religious Administration in Tibet (by Donggar Lobsang Chilai), Tibetan Tribe in China (by Chen Qingying) tells of the formation and development of the system featuring temporal and religious administration followed in Tibet. It touches on major issues encountered during various historical periods. It is very rich in content, stimulating research into the Tibetan history in the early 1980s. Major work on the modern and contemporary Tibet include Tibet of Contemporary China and History of Revolution in Tibet with Zhao Shenying serving as the chief editor. In the meantime, efforts sere made to gather, translate and compile historical archives and official documents into books. This also promotes the research into the Tibetan history.